Pastor's Corner:

Dear Pastor

Some final thoughts on the origin of the concept of an "immortal soul."

Dear Reader:

      As I wrote in a previous article (which one can access in the "previous articles" section below) the original Hebrew (biblical) concept of soul is that it refers to the individual himself, and not to an entity that lives on after death.  When, therefore, the writers of the Bible wrote of the soul dying, they meant just that.  They did not mean that the body died, and that the spirit, or soul, lived on.  For example, the prophet Ezekiel wrote: (Ezek 18:4 KJV) "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."  The word "soul" here in Ezekiel refers to any "person" who sins, and not to some other entity outside the body.  This fact is made even plainer in the succeeding verses which use "man" and "soul" interchangeably. 

      Similarly, as regards "death," the biblical concept is that when anything dies, it ceases to live, and that there is nothing that lives on after death.  There was no "soul" or "spirit" that continued to live after the demise of the individual.  Therefore, Solomon could write: (Eccl 9:5 KJV) "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."  The idea that the soul is a living entity that survives the death of the body, or that death does not mean the cessation of life, is an ancient concept that the devil developed in human thinking.  This ancient concept is the corruption of the true, original idea of death and life.

      Anciently, God told Adam and Eve that sin would bring death (Gen. 2:17); But God also taught them that while they would have to die because of their sin, He had devised a plan for them to be pardoned, resurrected from death, and once more given the gift of eternal life.  So Adam and Eve looked forward to the day when God would return to earth to resurrect them from the grave, the dust.  This teaching was passed on to all the descendants of Adam and Eve.  Therefore, the patriarch Job could write: (Job 14:14 KJV) "If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come."  And, (Job 14:15 KJV) "Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands."  And the Apostle Paul can pen: (1 Th 4:16 KJV) "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first."  It is for this reason that the Bible calls death a sleep.  It is a sleep because Jesus is the Live Giver, and will one day return to resurrect His sleeping saints.  Therefore, the Psalmist can say: (Psa 13:3 KJV) "Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death."  And Jesus can say of Lazarus who had been dead four days, (John 11:11 KJV) "These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep."  And when His disciples failed to understand what He meant He said: (John 11:14 KJV) "Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead."

      Note carefully now how Satan corrupted this teaching of God.  He, Satan, caused the descendants of Adam and Eve to believe that when an individual died, he was immediately resurrected into another life, either into "paradise" or into a place of punishment.  In other words, death was not what it literally meant, but it became the release of the "spirit" or "soul" into another life.  Therefore, with the exception of the believers of the One True God, the ancient people all believed in some sort of immediate after life.  The Egyptians had their "Ka"; the Sumerians buried their dead with food to feed the "spirit" as it traveled to its destination.  These concepts came down to us today, via the rise and fall of succeeding nations.  And when Christianity eventually took possession of the Roman Empire under Constantine the Great, these false concepts entrenched themselves into Christian theology.  Even earlier than Christianity, God people, Israel, had already succumbed to these false concepts through many of their leaders.

      This, then, is how the false concept of the immortality of the soul came into the teachings of many churches today.  The Bible tells us that only God has immortality; for example, (1 Tim 6:15, 16 KJV) "Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."  The Bible also tells us that we will be given immortality only at the second coming of Jesus for His sleeping saints; for example, (1 Cor 15:52-54 KJV) "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."  Yes, friends, we do not have immortality now; nothing lives on after death.  But when Jesus comes again we will be given immortality then.

      For anyone to believe, contrary to biblical teaching, that death does not mean cessation of life, but the continuation of life in another form, is to predispose oneself and others to the delusions of evil spirits that impersonate our dead relatives, or dead friends.  This is already manifested in the prayers that some Christians offer to dead saints like, Peter, John, Mary, and others.  It is my sincere wish that you, reader, will give more time to, and meditation on God's precious Word that you may be able to distinguish between truth and error.  God bless.

 

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